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Server rules

Below is a summary of rules you need to follow if you want to have an account on this server of Mastodon:

  1. Don't post content that is flatly racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist, misogynistic, or otherwise bigoted
  2. Don't use your account to harass or troll other users on 438punk.house
  3. Don't use your account to harass or troll other users on other instances
  4. Don't use your account to harass or troll regular people in general
  5. Don't post any illegal content, or talk about illegal acts, or otherwise post anything that could cause legal trouble for the server (where your images and posts live)
  6. Use Content Warnings for the following types of content: nudity, gore, drug use/paraphernalia, text detailing a sex act, text mentioning suicide/self-harm, abuse, rape, or sexual assault.
  7. Try to use Image Descriptions
  8. Read more on our About page https://438punk.house/about

Welcome to 438 PUNK HOUSE

438punk.house is a Mastodon instance intending to serve punks, queers, anarchists and our friends who are based in Tiohtià:ke aka Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Our intention is for this instance to serve users who are based in Montreal. So, locals only please. If you are looking for an anarchist instance with open registration, we recommend kolektiva.social.

What is Mastodon?

Here is a cute video that explains what Mastodon is:

Mastodon is one implementation of the Fediverse, which is a network of 1000s of servers of a dozen or so different social media applications which all talk to each other to form a federated network. Anyone can run a server (called an instance), and all the instances in the fediverse share messages with each other. This allows users on different instances to follow and message each other. It's like how you can have an email address @gmail.com and your friend can be @riseup.net and you can still send emails to each other. The users and administrators of any instance can decide their own internal guidelines about how to behave and what to post, and which other instances they want to interact with (or block interactions with).

We chose to use a fork of Mastodon over other options because it is the most widely adopted and the most user-friendly and is supported by many mobile apps. The fork we are running is called Hometown and it gives us a few extra features over regular Mastodon.

On Mastodon, there are no ads, there is very little in th way of an algorithm feeding you posts, and you have greater control over your user data. There are numerous other really nice features that other social media doesn't have:

  • Individual privacy control for each post
  • Content warnings
  • Image descriptions
  • Many controls for safety and filtering
  • An easy place to include pronouns on your profile
  • No ads

There is plenty of documentation on Mastodon, how it works, and how to use it here. But we have some of our own documentation further down in the page under USER GUIDE

What is 438 PUNK HOUSE?

438punk.house is our attempt to get more of our friends on Montreal using Mastodon and the Fediverse instead of corporate social media for the punk-adjacent online social connection, including for promoting and talking about shows and music. But really it will be up to the users what the instance gets used for.

This is our first time trying to run a server like this. So there might be some hiccups. We host and manage the server ourselves. Right now we are fronting the costs (which are very small). If the instance becomes more popular, we may ask for donations or run some benefits to help cover the server costs.


We are anarchists so we don't like rules, but there are guidelines to help maintain the sustainability and health of the instance. These may change as things go on. Please contact @admin@438punk.house if you have input or suggestions!

Please note that if you disagree with any of these guidelines in theory or practice, you are welcome to set up your own Mastodon instance with your own guidelines/rules!

Don't post content that is flatly racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist, misogynistic, or otherwise bigoted.

This will defacto include any symbols, slogans, memes/jokes, or vapid talking points of the reactionary far right. Don't be an edge-lord either.

Don't use your account to harass or troll other users on 438punk.house.

Don't use your account to harass or troll other users on other instances.

When interacting with users out in the broader fediverse, you represent 438punk.house to some extent (it shows up at the end of your username, after all!). So avoid trolling or harassing other users, even if they are on other instances. This can lead to other instances blanket blocking (defederating) with 438punk.house which is usually bad. If you pick fights with bad people, they can also follow you back to 438punk.house and harass other users here - if you want to pick fights on Mastodon, even with bad people, consider launching those attacks from your own instance and not from here!

Don't use your account to harass or troll regular people in general.

Become familiar with the privacy and account moderation settings on Mastodon and use them.

Every post on Mastodon has its own individual privacy setting that you set when you make the post. You also have many ways to deal with unwanted content/users. You can filter posts by tag or keywords, mute or block users, block an entire instance, and report problems to moderators. More info here.

Don't post any illegal content, or talk about illegal acts, or otherwise post anything that could cause legal trouble for the server (where your images and posts live).

It's a stupid idea to do that here for your own safety, but also don't bring the heat to the punk house. Go smoke down the block.

Use Content Warnings for the following types of content

  • Nudity
  • Gore
  • Drug use/paraphernalia
  • Text detailing a sexual act
  • Text mentioning suicide, self-harm, abust, rape, or sexual assault
  • Spoilers

When it doubt, it's easy to include a Content Warning, so why not err on the side of caution? It's polite!

Try to use Image Descriptions

Mastodon allows the easy appending of image descriptions to any image being posted. This is more of a strong suggestion than a firm guideline - but consider writing an image description every time you post an image. Image descriptions are very helpful to anyone who uses a screen reader, and offer many other benefits to a lot of users. It's a bit of a polite social norm here - a lot of users will not boost your posts if you do not include an image description. And it's easy and fun once you get used to it!


438punk.house runs on Hometown which is a fork of Mastodon. Here is the official documentation for Mastodon. Here is the official documentation for Hometown.

Consider especially consulting the following sections of the official documentation:

Because we are running a fork, we have all the features of Mastodon, plus a few extra features that Hometown gives us. If you really want to know everything, read the Mastodon docs above, and then the Hometown docs after! This user guide will be based on the specific set up we have here, and may not apply to a user on a different instance, where they may not be running Hometown, regular Mastodon, a different fork of Mastodon, or one of many other apps that make up part of the Fediverse!

Mobile Apps

There are a variety of ways to connect to 438punk.house and use Mastodon. You can connect using your browser (probably like you are right now). Using Mastodon through a browser is the most powerful way to use it. There are a few more options, you can configure more of your preferences, and it's a lot easier to find and follow new people. You can use the web-browser version on your mobile phone and it works quite well.

There are also a couple of really good mobile apps. We suggest Tusky or Fedilab for Android, and Metatext or Toot! (not free) for iOS. Mastodon also has 'Official' apps for iOS and Android. These official apps are very nice and easy if you are new to Mastodon/the Fediverse but please not they are missing certain crucial features! Consider trying them out first and then 'upgrading' to using one of the other apps once you get the hang of things. Besides the apps lists, there are actually lots of others. If you find one you like better, let us know! You can always use Mastodon in a browser on your phone if all else fails!

Note that whatever app you are using, how different parts of Mastodon look and work will depend on how the people who made the app implemented them. So it may not be exactly as it is explained in this guide, or in official documentation for Mastodon or Hometown.

Please note when using these apps, you must have have already created an account here, at 438punk.house using your web browser. When connecting an app to your account here, you need to tell the app three things, the instance you are on (438punk.house), your username, and your password. Many apps will default to the instance mastodon.social if you do not provide you own instance. This is the biggest instance run by the developers of Mastodon, and you probably don't want to be there. Logging in won't work if you don't properly indicate your instance!


Mastodon has 4 different timelines, or feeds, of posts (although some mobile apps may not show you all four timelines).

Home Timeline

This is the feed of posts from people you follow. You'll see all their public posts, follower-only posts, unlisted posts, boosts, etc.

Local Timeline

This timeline is everything happening on 438punk.house. All the public posts by users on our instance only.

Federated or Global Timeline

This timeline will show a lot of random stuff. It's all the public posts that our instance 'knows about' from tne entire fediverse. So all the public posts on 438punk.house, and from users of many other instances. What gets in here depends on the interacts the users of 438punk.house have made with other instances. People they follow, or posts they have commented on, or posts that people they follow have commented on... etc. There's no algorithm selected or sorting these posts, it's just a chronological feed of all these posts that have come to our instance through the magic of federation. It hasn't happened yet but in theory some offensive stuff could show up here from other instances. If that does happen, please flag it with a moderation report so we can block those instances if appropriate!

Direct Messages

This timeline will show all the posts that are set to Direct Message/People Mentioned Only

Toots aka Posts

The main thing you do on Mastodon is post. You follow people and see their posts. People follow you and see your posts. You cna boost posts. You can reply to posts. Posts used to be called Toots (as in, the sound a mastodon makes) and thenthey changed it to Post. RIP Toots.

Unlike on regular Mastodon, our post character limit is currently 1312 characters.

There are different options available when making a post.


You can attach images, photos, or videos to your posts. Videos have to be pretty short.

Once an image is done uploading, you will see a preview of your image. If you click 'Edit' in the corner you can add an image description.

Content Warning

You have the option of adding a content warning to your post by clicking the CW. The body of your post will be hidden until a user clicks 'Show More'. Whatever you write as the content warning will appear above the 'Show More' button. Please use content warnings for any of the types of content mentioned in the guidelines. But you can also use them other things you have deemed appropriate for content warnings, but also as a way to hide some content from the user, for example for long posts, or for a joke, or to simply indicate the topic of your post.


Mastodon has a built in emoji picker, and you will find many custom emojis that we have added ourselves. If you use these custom emojis they will be visible to anyone seeing your post, even users outside 438punk.house. If you want to see a specific emoji added, either one you've seen users on other instances using, or one you want us to make custom, just message @admin@438punk.house with your request!

Post Privacy Setting

Clicking the globe lets you bring up the post privacy setting. These settings determine who can see your post.

Public: This post will appear in the Public and Local timelines, as well as the Home timelines of everyone who follows you. It will also be visible on your profile and every user on the fediverse, or anyone browsing to your profile on the internet can potentially see this post there.

Unlisted: This post will not appear on the Public or Local timelines, but it will be visible in the Home timelines of everyone who follows you. It will also be visible on your profile and every user on the fediverse, or anyone browsing to your profile on the internet can potentially see this post there. This is useful for posting in a thread, where you don't want to clutter up public timelines with every post in the thread.

Followers Only: This post will only be visible to your followers, in their Home timelines or if they are looking at your profile. Not that if you have not locked your account, anyone could follow you without your approval and thus see these posts.

Mentioned People Only: aka Direct Messages. Only the users mentioned by @ in the post will be able to see it. This is the closest Mastodon has to direct or private messages, but rather than thinking of it like a DM, think of as what it literally is: a post that only the people mentioned can see. These posts are not encrypted, if you need to make sneaky encrypted messages, use a messaging platform dedicated to that purpose!

Local Only Posting

Because we are running Hometown, we have an additional Post Privacy Setting which is the posts "Federation" status. This isn't in the post privacy picker explained above, but is selected with the little chain icon.

Federated (the chain is unbroken) means that your post will federate to other instances all across the fediverse, while also respecting whatever Post Privacy Settings you've selected.

Local Only (the chain is broken) means that your post will only be visible to users on this instance, while also respecting whatever Post Privacy Settings you've selected.

Mobile apps do not currently support this little chain picker, but if you are posting from an app you can use the special :local_only: emoji (the little punkhouse with 438 written on it) to make a post Local Only!

Tips for new users!

Here are some tips for new users of 438punk.house to optimize your landing here!

If you are coming from one of the mainstream social media networks like Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, there is definitely some culture shock.

First of all, a pep talk: give Mastodon an honest effort. Regular social media wasn't easy to get used to the first time you used it, but over many years it has trained your brain. Mastodon is different and it will feel very different at first. If you don't give it an honest effort, you won't get anything out of it either.

One thing that is important when you create a new account is to fill in some basic info in your profile. Remember this profile is public, so act accordingly. You need to include some info about yourself (pronouns are a good idea) and what you are interested in if you want to meet some strangers (no one follows-back an empty profile with 0 posts). You need to include some kind of info if you want your friends to find you and know who it is.

A popular thing to do here when you are feeling comfortable is to make an #introduction post (using that hashtag). Check out that hashtag in the search bar for some ideas. You can pin this post to your profile so people can always see it, and it's something other users can boost for you so that people who might be interested in following you can find you!

When you first create an account, there is a good chance you will have trouble finding any content on your timeline at all. It will be shockingly empty. Mastodon has no real recommendation algorithm. Mastodon will not do much work for you to find content or users to follow. It can be a bit of a shock to have to do all that work yourself, but remember that the plus-side is there is no algorithm analyzing all your content and deciding who/what to recommend to you. You are in full control of who you follow and what posts you see in your home timeline.

A good way to find people to follow on 438punk.house is to find a few friends (hopefully you know some who brought you here). Look at who they follow and who follows them, look for your other friends! Another good place to look is the Local timeline. This will show you all posts from other people on 438punk.house - have a look and start following!

Being on here you are also not just on 438punk.house. We are part of the greater fediverse. There are many other instances like ours full of anarchists, queers, weirdos, people who post cat pictures, etc. You can see a lot of this on the Global Timeline. Exploring this world is a lot easier on a browser logged into your account. For example, the profile directory lets you see users who have opted to be listed either on our instance, or in the known fediverse (on all instances that 438punk.house knows about). There are lots of interesting people there (especially anarchists, queers, and nerds).

The last thing is to use it! Post and interact. Everyone here is also new. Any social interactions (liking, replying, boosting) go a long way to building the social network. So get tootin'!


The fediverse is a big place. Right now 438punk.house is pretty young and small, so we are not federated with that many other instances, and instances we are federated with are for the most part pretty cool places. As the instances grows, there will be more and more federation with other instances. It's a big world out there, and anyone can run a Mastodon instance. There are corners of the fediverse that are far-right, or trolls, or spam-bots, or lolita porn. We can (and will) blanket block any instances that cater to users and content like that, and we have already preemptively blocked a long list of known bad-instances. But it is worth being aware that that stuff can pop up in the Global timeline. It's very helpful if you report that kind of stuff using the built in Moderation tools so that we can take appropriate action.

On Mastodon you have much more control over your data, but you should also be aware of what the limits are for your own safety, security, and privacy. Your profile and any public posts are visible by anyone. All of your posts and content is stored on our server in an unencrypted way. The server keeps all kinds of logs. Direct messages are not end-to-end encrypted and should not be used for anything that requires security, or extreme privacy. Use Signal if you need that.

Other things we want to add to this guide

  • Our special hashtags
  • Finding and following people on other instances
  • Using lists for fun and success
  • All the fun things you can set in settings
  • Why sometimes you won't see all the replies to a post, or all the posts on a profile from a different instance